Winnacunnet High School freshman Abby Rayder entered the fourth quarter of Monday�s Division I girls basketball game at Salem with six career 3-pointers.
She matched that number in the next 8 minutes, single-handily outscoring Salem, 18-14, in the quarter and getting the Warriors within striking distance.
The Warriors may have lost the game, 59-52, but first-year head coach Tom Hayward was still raving about Rayder�s performance two days later.
�That fourth quarter was out of this world,� said Hayward, who started coaching basketball in 1990. �That is one of the best quarters that I have ever seen from any kid I have ever coached, or that I have ever seen in a game from another team. I have never seen a kid go off like that.�
Rayder ended the game with 21 points, also hitting a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
�The funny part is it wasn�t like (Salem) subbed out and was playing less talented players or they weren�t trying to stop her,� Hayward said. �For whatever reason, the way we were playing, she was open. There was not a forced shot in that mix, and she was just in that zone, and the shots just started draining like crazy.�
Most of Rayder�s 3-pointers against Salem were coming from the foul-line extended
�We were down 10, and and I just got hot,� Rayder said before Wednesday�s 52-42 home win over Trinity. �My teammates were trying to get the ball to me. I didn�t think I had (six in the quarter), but I came off the court after the game and everyone was freaking out. I was excited, and it was really fun. There were some shots that I wish I had made but it still felt good to have my team there cheering for me.�
Riley Kerens, another freshman, scored four points in the fourth quarter, while sophomore Hannah Ritchie had two. The rest came from Rayder.
�(Rayder) stayed within the offense, everything was just there and they were all good shots,� Hayward said. �She hit one, and then they just started coming and it was a flood gate. We had 24 points in that quarter, and she had 18. We clearly don�t come back without her. But at the same time, I told her after the game that the rest of her game was also great. She played great defense, and she had great passing. She did an awful lot, it wasn�t just scoring.�
Rayder has picked up the pace in the past few games. She scored 24 points, in her first seven games of the season, including a 10-point effort in a loss at Goffstown on Jan. 7
Since consecutive two-point games against Manchester Memorial and Pinkerton Academy, Rayder has caught fire, scoring 59 points in the next five games; that number includes being held scoreless against Keene.
�She has done a really good job of not trying to make something happen that�s not there,� Hayward said. �She is getting wide-open looks and is on a good stretch. Before, I think she was trying to do too much and not allowing the game to come to her. The last (few) games she has allowed the game to come to her, and she�s playing very relaxed.�
Rayder is �definitely playing better� than she thought she would this season.
�I was pretty nervous coming in and playing against upperclassmen,� she said. �I am not the tallest, either. I thought I would get blocked a lot, but after the first game, what I thought in my head, I was just overreacting and it was just basketball.�
Rayder had a team-high 13 points � on three field goals and 7 for 7 shooting from the free throw line � at Manchester Central. She scored 17 points in last Friday�s loss at Dover and added eight in Wednesday�s win over Trinity.
�When I saw her playing in the summer it was obvious she was a kid who has a scorer�s mentality,� Hayward said. �I just figured it would be a matter of time before she got comfortable. When she�s comfortable, good things happen. Right now she�s in a good place and as long as she stays in that place, we�re going to have a lot more good games from her in the future.�
Rayder scored a total of 10 points in the first four games of the season, her lone 3-pointer coming against Portsmouth in the third game.
�Every game I feel a little more comfortable,� Rayder said. �We played Goffstown and I guarded Kelly Walsh. She�s amazing, a really good player, and I think I guarded her pretty well; certainly not the best, but it still gave me a lot of confidence that I could do that and play here (at this level).�
Rayder has come off the bench in all of Winnacunnet�s first 12 games, and Hayward doesn�t plan on inserting her into the starting lineup despite her latest scoring streak.
�She�s getting tons of playing time, and she�s deserving of tons of playing time,� Hayward said. �She�s doing all the right things. If you do it once it�s a fluke; if you do it twice, it�s not a fluke. She has a lot of talent.�